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The Marquess of Cholmondeley deposited the bulk of these papers in 1951, the collection subsequently being purchased by the Library. Formerly held at Houghton, the papers include working records of the estate office, papers of the Pell family, and collections relating to various generations of the Walpole family, including a large collection of political papers collected by Sir Robert Walpole, first Prime Minister of Great Britain, in the course of his long political career.

The larger part of Sir Robert's papers consist of reports, memoranda, and petitions. There are abstracts of all papers signed by the Lords of the Treasury, 1718-40, Walpole's own memoranda, and his notes for speeches. While many of the papers duplicate material in the Public Record Office, anyone working on the period 1710-40 will find here, in the words of the historian Sir John Plumb, 'original material of value which is not found elsewhere. There can be no doubt that these papers constitute the most important single collection of this period for English political history.'

An online catalogue of the collection can be found on the National Archives website here

For an introduction to the papers see G.A. Chinnery, A Handlist of the Cholmondeley (Houghton) Manuscripts: Sir Robert Walpole's Archive, Cambridge, 1953. There are also handlists to various areas of the collection available in the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Contact: Sian Collins (01223 333141;